IHLC 2019 In Review – Women’s


A dramatic year for women’s international hockey, both on and off the ice, saw the International Hockey Lineal Championship change hands four times in a number of unlikely scenarios throughout 2019.

The year began with the inaugural “Rivalry Series” between Canada and the United States, seeing Team USA win game one before Canada captured games two and three, ensuring they would take the title to Espoo for April’s World Championships. The Americans retained in their showdown with Canada in the group round, but for the first time in tournament history they failed to contend for the title a second time, as they were stunned by Finland in the semifinals, who very nearly stunned Team USA to capture Gold (and what would have been just their fourth IHLC title in history) if not for a controversial finish. Team USA managed to hold on to retain the IHLC and win their fifth straight World Championship.

The 2019-20 season was set to start up at November’s Four Nations Cup, to be hosted in Luleå, Sweden, but due to a boycott by the Swedish women’s team over a dispute with the Swedish Hockey Federation, the tournament was cancelled for the first time in its history in September, leaving the women’s calendar in question. Instead, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey decided to extend their scheduled rivalry series earlier, setting up a pair of exhibition games in suburban Pittsburgh for early November, a series that Canada swept to retake the IHLC. The teams met twice more in December, with Team USA winning both contests, to ensure that they carry the IHLC into the next decade.

The following games were contested over the women’s IHLC in 2019 (click for game recaps and boxscores):
366. 🇺🇸 USA 1-0 CAN 🇨🇦 – 12 Feb 2019 – EX – London 🇨🇦
367. 🇨🇦 CAN 4-3 USA 🇺🇸 – 14 Feb 2019 – EX – Toronto 🇨🇦
368. 🇨🇦 CAN 2-0 USA 🇺🇸 – 17 Feb 2019 – EX – Detroit 🇺🇸
369. 🇨🇦 CAN 6-0 SUI 🇨🇭 – 04 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮
370. 🇺🇸 USA 3-2 CAN 🇨🇦 – 06 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮
371. 🇺🇸 USA 8-0 SUI 🇨🇭 – 07 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮
372. 🇺🇸 USA 10-0 RUS 🇷🇺 – 09 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮
373. 🇺🇸 USA 4-0 JPN 🇯🇵 – 11 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮
374. 🇺🇸 USA 8-0 RUS 🇷🇺 – 13 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮
375. 🇺🇸 USA 2-1 FIN 🇫🇮 (SO) – 14 Apr 2019 – WWC – Espoo 🇫🇮 🏅
376. 🇨🇦 CAN 4-1 USA 🇺🇸 – 08 Nov 2019 – EX – Cranberry Township 🇺🇸
377. 🇨🇦 CAN 5-3 USA 🇺🇸 – 10 Nov 2019 – EX – Cranberry Township 🇺🇸
378. 🇺🇸 USA 4-1 CAN 🇨🇦 – 14 Dec 2019 – EX – Hartford 🇺🇸
379. 🇺🇸 USA 2-1 CAN 🇨🇦 – 17 Dec 2019 – EX – Moncton 🇨🇦

The IHLC Rankings for 2019 were as follows (total all-time wins and rankings in parentheses):
01. 🇺🇸 UNITED STATES – 9 wins (137, 2nd)
02. 🇨🇦 CANADA – 5 wins (224, 1st)

As mentioned, Team USA once again heads into the new year with the IHLC in tow, with the Rivalry Series set to renew this February with exhibition matches in Vancouver, Victoria and Anaheim. The winner of their final match on 08 February will get the honour of carrying the title into the 2020 World Championships in Nova Scotia, Canada in April, where Canada will look for their first title since 2012 on home ice, while Team USA goes for six straight titles, and Finland will look to finally conquer the mountain and put an end to the North American dominance of the women’s hockey world.

Photo Credit: 2019 Women’s World Championship – IIHFHHOFIOC

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